“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.” 1 Corinthians 9:24 (NIV)
(By a very slight margin, you guys voted to hear about exercise as worship first. My next post, however, will address nourishment.)
Exercise as worship!? Isn’t that an oxymoron, you say? No, it’s not. Exercise can be an amazing pathway to meet with God. Here are a few tips to start:
1) Enter your exercise time in a posture of prayer. By that, I mean to begin your exercise time with an expectancy to meet with God. Just as you might enter a church service, a prayer meeting, a small group experience or serving opportunity … enter your exercise time with a desire and expectancy to meet with God. Set your thoughts on things above and look to Him and for Him during your workout. Talk to Him … or simply quiet your mind and listen for His still, small voice.
2) Equip yourself with a personal, inspirational verse. Mine is Philippians 4:13 — I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Whenever I’m getting tired, bored or just want to quit, I recite Philippians 4:13 to myself. When I am trying something new or hard and begin to doubt myself, I recite Philippians 4:13 and trust Him to help me do my best. There are many great verses. (Caution: this is not permission to try to do stupid stuff, calling on Jesus to help you. This is within the context of reasonable challenges appropriate for your current fitness level.)
3) Run your own race. By that, I mean to forget about the people around you and what they are doing. Don’t look at the speed they are running or the amount of weight they are lifting. Run your own race. Choose appropriate challenges for yourself and stop comparing. It’s like what Jesus said to Peter when Peter asked about the fate of another disciple; Jesus said, “what’s that to you? You follow me.” (John 21:22). This is not a comparative race. Focus only on you and God when you workout. You have your race. They have theirs.